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Wall St. Week Ahead: And you thought 2011 was tough?

December 31, 2011

Rancor was in view again in December as Congress struggled to pass a two-month extension of U.S. payroll-tax cuts. "There will be less certainty about taxation and regulation so that will inhibit business formation and business growth," said Brian Battle, a trader at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.

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Santa rally puts S&P up for the year

December 24, 2011

Volume was light ahead of the extended Christmas holiday weekend, which could spark exaggerated market swings next week. The New York Stock Exchange observed normal trading hours, but the bond market closed early, at 2:00 p.m. EST (1900 GMT). Brian Battle, a trader at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago, warned about reading too much into the market's recent run. He said he was cautious heading into the new year, with Europe's debt crisis unresolved, growth still weak, and a U.S. presidential election looming. Financials, the S&P 500's worst-performing sector this year, could continue to face amplified volatility. "We should all be careful not to deem it as the end," he said. "We might take it all back in January."

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